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Orange County Adopts Policy to Comply With New York Complete Streets Act

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has announced the Legislature has unanimously approved a Complete Streets Policy, encouraging safer roads and pathways in Orange County. This initiative, said Neuhaus, is part of the ongoing collaboration among the County’s Departments of Health, Planning and Public Works to improve transportation-related elements of projects that involve County property. This can include new construction and as well as retrofitting and upgrades to existing roads and facilities.

A Complete Street is a roadway planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of roadway users of all ages and abilities, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders. Each Complete Street is unique, but common elements may include bus shelters, pavement markings, bike lanes, bump outs (curb extensions), pedestrian control signals, crosswalks and sidewalks. According to a National Complete Streets Coalition report in 2016, local governments throughout the U.S. have passed Complete Streets policies, following guidance from Federal and State transportation leaders. New York State passed the Complete Streets Act in August 2011, requiring state, county and local agencies to consider the Complete Streets practices when developing transportation projects that receive state and federal funding.

“Complete Street designed roadways offer a safe and accessible transportation network for our residents,” Neuhaus said. “Future improvements such as these will help better connect visitors and residents to Orange County neighborhoods and communities. Maintaining the health and structural integrity of our bridges and roads is essential to public safety, travel, and economic growth in Orange County.”

Added Planning Commissioner David Church, “Building this type of infrastructure provides a safer and more connected network of opportunities for County residents and visitors. Giving residents better access to transportation modes while improving air quality and increasing safety, all help to encourage more physical activity and community engagement.”

“Whether it is to be physically active, reduce costs associated with travel, or make it easier to get to work, this Complete Streets Policy reinforces our commitment to improve safety and accessibility throughout the County for all people” said Orange County Legislator Katie Bonelli, Chairwoman of the Orange County Rules, Enactments and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

According to the Orange County Transportation Council:


Orange County will develop and maintain a safe and accessible transportation network that provides alternative options for all users, coordinates adjacent land uses and promotes a more livable community for people of all ages and abilities. The transportation network will improve public health and safety, while encouraging economic activity, community character, livability, and equity in order to enhance the quality of life for Orange County residents and visitors over the long-term.

Orange County Complete Streets Policy

It is the intent of this policy to promote a safe and accessible transportation network that balances the needs of all users, including: pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit users, motorists, emergency vehicles, freight carriers, and agricultural vehicles. This policy promotes and enhances public health and safety, while encouraging economic activity, community character, livability, and equity for people of all ages, abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds, including children, families, aging populations and individuals with disabilities.

The benefits of Complete Streets include: better access to safe streets for all, increased opportunities for active transportation, improved individual health, improvements to overall air quality, promotion of equal opportunities, and decreased accidents throughout the County.

View the full policy here.

Please visit www.ny.gov to see a list of other New York State municipalities and counties that have passed Complete Streets policies.

What is a Complete Street?

A Complete Street:

  • Is a street designed to serve all users and modes
  • Is part of a connected and integrated transportation network
  • Applies to all roadways, projects, and phases (when appropriate)
  • Considers context sensitive approaches and best practice design criteria

Each complete street is unique, but elements may include:

  • sidewalks
  • bike lanes (or wide paved shoulders)
  • bus lanes
  • accessible transit stops
  • frequent crossing opportunities
  • median islands
  • accessible pedestrian signals
  • bump outs (curb extensions)

View the full summary sheet here.

Additional Information on Complete Streets.

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